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Pell urges Catholics to "hold nerve" against secularisation

Sydney's Archbishop George Pell says Catholics in Australia need only stay faithful to the Saviour, hold their nerve and keep talking if they are to overcome the challenge of secularisation.

By adhering to the basic Christian message, secularisation and the move away from religion will be overcome, Archbishop Pell told the NSW Press Forum on Monday, reports The Catholic Leader

"While regular Sunday worship among Catholics has fallen from about 50% in 1960 to 18% today, attendance at Christmas and Easter is more than double this.

"And demand for Catholic services in schools, hospitals, welfare and aged care continues to rise.

"Catholicism is now an accepted part of mainstream Australia and everyone feels entitled to have an opinion on Catholic beliefs and practices."

Archbishop Pell said that the larger danger for the Australian Church was not that people believe without belonging, but that they belong without believing.

"Our large system of Catholic schools is a wonderful asset," he said. "But by themselves schools are often unable to inculcate or strengthen faith when it is very weak in a family."

Catholic Leader

22 Mar 2002